New 'Books All Around? (10/4/01)

A few days ago, we reported our psychic premonition that Apple is gearing up for one of those momentous press events sometime in the middle of the month, and that the star of that show will be none other than the long-awaited PowerBook G4 revision that's got all the road warriors drooling. Of course, they're mostly drooling blind, because no one except Steve knows exactly what sort of features that new titanium totable will boast-- but given that an improvement is a certainty and the existing PowerBook is already pretty droolworthy, we doubt that saliva is being shed in vain.

That's entirely a matter of opinion and speculation, however. For what it's worth, faithful viewer dzhim! points out that Mac OS Rumors has taken a crack at predicting the new TiBook specs, and if they're right, then there may suddenly be a whole lot less salivating when these systems go public. Granted, the use of an ATI RADEON Mobilty graphics processor is a welcome change for folks who like to frag their Quake 3 Arena opponents on the go, and the slot-loading DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive (at least in the high-end model) is definitely one of those "it's about freakin' time" features. Likewise, the hint that Apple may move to a standard 256 MB of RAM in its low-end configuration may be enough of a boost to quiet some of the grumbling about Apple's latest entry-level iMac only shipping with 64 MB. But processor speeds of 450 and 550 MHz? Yikes. Here's hoping that our own entirely unfounded vision of 500 MHz and 667 MHz is closer to the mark.

Aside from the new PowerBook, however, you may recall that we thought we saw a second product getting prepped for this press event, though we weren't able to see just what it might be. Sadly, we've received no more Cordeliaesque visions from the Powers That Be, although a couple of sites out there are hinting that Mystery Product #2 may in fact be a refreshed iBook. Mac OS Rumors includes a report from a UK reader who indicates that supplies of iBooks are shockingly low over there, and indeed, we're hearing a lot of the same from Mac fans on this side of the pond. His revelation that the iBook with CD-RW drive has been designated as EOL (End Of Life) in a reseller's inventory system doesn't imply a thing, however, since Apple pulled that model out of the retail channel waaaaaay back in May, turning it into an online-only special.

What might be a stronger clue is a report over at Go2Mac indicating that even the Apple Store is having difficulty shipping iBooks; one customer claims to have been told that his order was "unexpectedly delayed" for a couple of weeks, and Apple couldn't say why. That's still pretty sketchy as far as evidence of an imminent iBook update is concerned, but interpret it as you see fit. Personally, we're still skeptical of seeing speed-bumped iBooks this soon-- it's barely been five months, after all-- but maybe that's just because the PowerBook has gone nearly twice that long without being touched. If we gain any divine wisdom in the next day or so, we'll be sure to let you know.

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The above scene was taken from the 10/4/01 episode:

October 4, 2001: New PowerBooks are probably coming sometime this month-- but will new iBooks be joining them? Meanwhile, the rest of the PC industry gets a clue and prepares to ditch the floppy drive, and as far as the entry-level iMac goes, Apple decides to charge students and teachers more money than the rest of us...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3342: Floppies With Rigor Mortis (10/4/01)   "They called us MAD at the university!!" Say, folks, remember all the teeth-gnashing that ensued back when the original iMac was introduced in May of '98? We seem to recall a fairly massive faction of pundits insisting that Apple was doomed due to its shortsighted and egocentric decision to ship the product sans old-style serial and SCSI ports, and-- this was the real blasphemy, here-- even without a floppy drive...

  • 3343: The Education Surcharge (10/4/01)   Okay, ever since that new entry-level iMac we hinted at last week finally showed up this past Monday, we've gotten a ton of mail from people asking us just what the heck is up with the pricing on that unit...

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